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Women's Behavioral Health: Perimenopause Services at UPMC in Central Pa.

The psychiatrists and therapists at Women’s Behavioral Health Specialists help women manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders that develop as a result of perimenopause.

Treatment for Perimenopause-Related Mental Health Concerns

Treatment for stress, anxiety, depression, perceived cognitive decline and other perimenopause-related mental health concerns depends on the specific cause, your symptoms, and the severity of your condition. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more treatments, including:

  • Medications. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to treat psychiatric symptoms that are moderate to severe. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications such as stimulants for short-term use. However, before prescribing medication, your physician will consider how the medication may interact with other medications you are taking. Our psychiatrists will work closely with you and your OB/GYN to determine the safest and most effective mental health treatment.
  • Counseling. Our practice offers one-on-one counseling and group therapy to help women discuss and manage stress, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Our specialists may also recommend exercise therapy, light therapy, or other alternative options to help you manage your condition.

What are perimenopause-related mental health concerns?

Perimenopause refers to the transition period that occurs a few years before menopause, when your monthly menstruation stops. It usually occurs in a woman’s late 40s and early 50s.

Hormonal changes during perimenopause can affect your mood and cause a variety of physical symptoms. Concerns about aging can also develop or become worse during perimenopause. As a result of these symptoms and changes, some women develop feelings of depression and anxiety that are severe and don’t go away.

Perimenopause-related mental health issues that may require treatment include:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Marital or relationship stress
  • Perceived cognitive decline

What are the symptoms of perimenopause-related mental health concerns?

If you are experiencing perimenopause, you should get help if you have symptoms of depression or anxiety that last for more than a few days. Symptoms may include:

  • A loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Depression that doesn’t seem to go away
  • Strain in your personal relationships
  • Difficulty thinking about anything other than aging or perimenopause symptoms
  • High levels of anxiety, stress, or worry
  • Inability to focus on completing tasks and difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, early morning awakening, sleeping more than usual)
  • A marked increase or decrease in your appetite and weight
  • An increase in your use of drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Social isolation
  • Persistent feelings of pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, bitterness, or anger

During perimenopause, some women feel that they experience cognitive changes, which may include symptoms such as forgetfulness, slower thinking, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

Who is at risk for perimenopause-related mental health concerns?

Any woman who is experiencing perimenopause can develop related emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues. However, if you have a personal or family history of mental health conditions, you may be at a higher risk of developing a mental health problem related to perimenopause.

You may also be at a higher risk for mental health problems related to perimenopause if you have:

  • Concerns about menopause or aging
  • High levels of stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of support from other people in your life

How can I prevent perimenopause-related mental health concerns?

The best way to prevent mental health issues is to be proactive about your mental and emotional condition and get help at the first signs of problems.

It may help to eat well, exercise, give yourself time during the day to relax, and spend time doing activities you enjoy. Deep breathing, yoga, massage, and guided imagery may help you relax. 

Need more information?

Phone: 717-988-9430

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